THEATRE / On Theatre

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Indy Lifestyle Online
Two years ago Carran Waterfield's solo show The Dig was shortlisted for the Independent Theatre Award in Edinburgh. Now, after much small-scale touring, it has come to London for a short run. Clearly award nominations help, but do they help enough, and quickly enough?

Waterfield devised The Dig from an initial interest in the Virgin Mary, Mary Magdalene and an archaeological unit in her home town, Coventry. Influenced by the work of the Danish theatre-maker Eugenio Barba, she explored visual and symbolic ways of delving into the past - such as singing songs like 'In The Bleak Midwinter backwards.

'The Independent reviewer got really excited about it, and saw Satanic connections and inferences of ritual child-abuse,' says Waterfield. In contrast to what she describes as the 'supermarket philosophy of theatre, her method is one of long and slow gestation. The result is work which taps organically into the unconscious. 'You never know what you've created, it resonates in many different ways for different people,' she explains.

As a result of that initial favourable coverage, The Dig went on tour, and was even taken to Denmark to perform to Barba. Far from resenting this two-year period, Waterfield feels that the work has grown and matured in that time: 'There's a feeling of solidity about it now. In the early stages of performing, you're galloping ahead of yourself, but now each section is very much of its moment. I can't do the conveyor-belt kind of work. All we can do is make work for our own sake, and not try to blow whichever way the wind is blowing. That's why it can have such a long life.'

The Dig is at the Bridewell to 2 Jul (not 29 Jun). Box office: 071-936 3456

(Photograph omitted)